At nine in the morning the first stage of Tour of Thailand started in Songkla with a clear blue sky. From the start on the team worked together well and controlled the peloton in many situations. The weather suddenly changed at kilometer 75 and from there on it was heavy rain that flooded the streets more and more. The hard conditions brought our rider Nikodemus Holler, winner of Tour of Thailand 2020, to the ground. Insufficient markings and bad weather made a crash barrier almost invisible and it threw Niko over his handlebar. After checking with the medical assistance and the team car Niko continued to work for the team despite the immense pain from his crash.
Close to the finish the rain finally stopped, temperatures rose and tension grew. With five kilometers to go the peloton caught up with the breakaway group in which Adne van Engelen was doing most of the work. From here on Wildlife Generation (USA), Sapura Cycling (Malaysia) and BIKE AID controlled the race in the front. One team after the other started to set up their sprint train for the upcoming bunch sprint. Jasper Pahlke and Leo Bouvier were able to prepare Lucas Carstensens final meters perfectly. Short before the finish line he went out of his teammates slipstream to take the win. Afterwards the team celebrated all together.
„I’ve worked so hard for this and the season didn’t go too well until now. Therefore it’s a big relief and we are looking forward to the next stage. I’m so thankful for my teammates which set me up perfectly today.“ Lucas Carstensen about his win.
After passing the finish line Nikodemus Holler had to be brought to the hospital to get a x-ray. Against all predictions he luckily did not break his right toe.
„We know that it is a huge privilege to be able to race at the moment. For our team there is a lot at stake at Tour of Thailand. Winning the first stage relieves everyone and at the same time it is a nice way to say ‚Thank you‘ to our partners Kaze and F2P for their massive support.“ Matthias Schnapka after the race.
As the overall leader Lucas Carstensen will wear the yellow jersey tomorrow. He is looking forward to the longest stage of the tour, covering 230 kilometers.